Archive | September, 2017

Phillips shines as La Habra spoils Colony homecoming

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Phillips shines as La Habra spoils Colony homecoming

Posted on 23 September 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III returned three interceptions for touchdowns to key La Habra’s 49-14 blowout victory over Colony High School in Ontario Friday night.

“I ate a lot [for breakfast] today, eggs, bacon, grits, sausage and I just prayed for a good game,” Phillips said, when asked how he prepared for his breakout game. “I just want to thank god for this awesome opportunity and the coaches for giving me the opportunity.”

Photo by Paul Luna – La Habra sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III with one of his three interceptions against Colony Friday.

 

Phillips also feasted on fellow sophomore, quarterback Marco Gonzalez, who entered the game midway through the Titans opening drive after starter Joseph Tesimale left with an apparent knee injury.

After Gonzalez lead the Titans the rest of the way down the field and inched over the goal line on 4th down to take an early lead, the Titan offense appeared to not skip a beat.

But Phillips intercepted Gonzalez on the Titans next possession and returned it 38 yards down the sideline to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

After the Highlanders took a narrow 21-14 lead into halftime, Phillips spurred a 28-point third quarter surge with two more interception returns.

Quarterback Zack Fogel lead the Highlanders down the field on the opening drive of the half connecting with Deavyn Woullard, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone for a 45-yard score– the first of their two touchdowns in the quarter.

Photo By Paul Luna -Highlander Quarterback Zack Fogel throws a pass in La Habra’s road win Friday against Colony High School.

Phillips followed with his most miraculous play of the night, leaping up to grab an Gonzalez’s overthrown pass with one hand and streaking down the sideline 42 yards for the score to make it 35-14 just three minutes into the third quarter.

Phillips said afterwards that his ball skills and return ability come from playing offense his whole life. He has only been playing cornerback since coming to high school. Prior to that, he had always played running back.

Head coach Frank Mazzotta has taken notice, finding ways to get Phillips increasingly involved on the offensive side of the ball as the season goes on as well.

After Fogel found Woullard again for a 17-yard touchdown, Phillips pulled a pick-six hat-trick with a 60-yard touchdown, again streaking down the La Habra sideline–this time waving bye as he accelerated past the Titans 6’5” wide receiver Michael Ezeike.

Fogel’s night was far more impressive than his modest 92 yards and two touchdowns suggest.

The senior quarterback was accurate all night, but the Highlander receivers had a case of the drops early on, including three in a row that stalled the opening drive of the game.

“I’m telling you right now, [Fogel] has struggled throwing the ball in the past,” Mazzotta said. “But Zack has gotten a lot better and you saw that tonight, this is a culmination of 18 games starting now and the ball is in the right places, he threw it with some velocity and hit people in the hands–that’s what I’m most happy about honestly.”

“Obviously the time helps, experience makes everyone better especially at the quarterback position,” Fogel said. “The coaching is just superb, we watch a lot of film and honestly you don’t want to be your best week-one, we want to be our best in the playoffs, so we’re just trying to get closer to that each week.”

Photo by Paul Luna – a Habra sophomore cornerback Clark Phillips III runs back one of his three interceptions for a touchdown.

Skyler Taylor kept his scoring streak intact, leaping over the pile for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Despite giving way to other running backs for much of the second half in each of the Highlanders three lopsided victories, Taylor impressively has 11 rushing touchdowns and at least one in each game this season.

The loss drops Colony to 3-2 this season. The Titans struggled without Tesimale and the extent of his injury is unknown. Head coach Steve Randall said he will know more on Monday or Tuesday.

Perhaps the most shocking stat line was the penalty disparity between the two teams. Colony finished the game without an official penalty enforced against them. They were called for holding in the third quarter, however it came on the heels of Gonzalez being sacked, so the penalty was declined by La Habra.

While it’s unclear how long he will be sidelined, fortunately Randall will have two weeks to either get his quarterback healthy or prepare for their first league game against Chaffey without him since the Titans have a bye week coming up.

La Habra improved its record to 3-2 heading into league play. Their two losses came against Upland, the top team in CIF Division 2, and Mission Viejo, the No. 2 team in Division 1.

The Highlanders open league against a much improved Sunny Hills (4-0) at Buena Park High School Oct. 6. The Lancers feature one of the top rushers in Orange County, Alex Jung.

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Highlanders start strong and crush Eagles in Saturday rout

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Highlanders start strong and crush Eagles in Saturday rout

Posted on 17 September 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Photo by Paul Luna – La Habra’s Deavyn Woullard makes one if his receptions, en router to a Highlander touchdown Saturday.

La Habra’s 42 first-half points spoiled the Oak Grove Eagles’ trip south from San Jose abruptly Saturday afternoon at Mission Viejo High School.

Following a tough loss to Mission Viejo at home last week that capped a gauntlet three game stretch to open the season, the Highlanders(2-2) were able to even up their record behind Zach Fogel’s three first half touchdowns, with nine different Highlanders reaching the end zone.

“We’ve been playing some really good teams and I think we’ve been playing hard and doing what we are supposed to do,” La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta said. “You know every once in awhile you’re do for an outing like this where things just kinda click and go your way.”

Skyler Taylor opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run on the Highlanders opening drive. It was Taylor’s team leading ninth touchdown this season.

Fogel then spread the ball around on 5-8, 155 yards passing. He found Mitchell Anderson and Deavyn Woullard early for scores, then capped off his impressive half by hitting Kelani Washington with an over the shoulder 29-yard touchdown with :07 seconds left.

Photo by Paul Luna – La Habra’s Skyler Taylor pushes through Eagle defenders Saturday in La Habra’s victory.

In a game where everything seem to go the Highlanders way, Mazzotta said he was most impressed with the offensive line and Fogel’s improvement at quarterback.

“I think Zach threw the ball a little better, and that’s one thing that we’ve been trying to impress upon.”

“I’m always going to put a lot of pressure on myself to get better every week,” Fogel said. “I got better this week and we’ll try to do it again next week.”

Special teams got in on the scoring as well. Isaiah Alcocer returned a missed fg 99 yards for a touchdown on the Eagles opening drive.

With the score being lopsided so quickly, Taylor gave way to linebacker Kobah Fuamatu in the backfield midway through the second quarter. Fuamatu carried the ball twice for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Aaron Young added the final score in the fourth quarter to make it 49-0.

La Habra and Oak Grove(0-3) were both CIF Champions in 2015.

The Highlanders will take on Colony(3-1) in Ontario next Friday in their final non-league game. The Titans are coming off a 41-20 victory over Norte Vista.

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Late third quarter surge helps Diablos pull away from Highlanders

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Late third quarter surge helps Diablos pull away from Highlanders

Posted on 10 September 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The La Habra high football team played it even with No. 2 Mission Viejo for about two and a half quarters Friday night, but the Diablos ended the third with three unanswered scores to break the game open and held on for the 42-27 win at La Habra.

Skyler Taylor drives against a Mission Viejo tackler Friday. Photo by Miguel Pola.

La Habra began the third quarter impressively on both sides of the ball to bring the score to 14-13.

The defense forced a quick punt on Mission Viejo’s opening drive, then quarterback Zack Fogel completed two consecutive passes to Mitchell Anderson for 50 yards, capped by a 20-yard touchdown.

Mission Viejo (3-0) answered with a 25-yard touchdown run by Akili Arnold.

The Diablos capitalized on a Fogel interception and partially blocked punt out of the end zone that set them up with a short field on their next two possessions.

Before the end of the quarter, the Highlanders found themselves looking up at a 35-13 deficit. Mission Viejo added one more early in the fourth.

“Their defense made a lot of really good adjustments to what we were doing,” Fogel said. “That [time-frame] right there late in the third wasn’t good for us and they took advantage of it.” 

“[Fogel] struggled to throw the ball tonight,” Mazzotta said. “He does a lot of good things though, made a lot of good reads and runs and stuff like that.”

Arnold was thrust into action midway through the first quarter after starting running back Jamari Ferrell suffered a serious leg injury. The junior responded with career highs in yards (151) and touchdowns (3).

The Highlanders didn’t go quietly. Fogel connected with on two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Deavyn Woullard.  

The Highlanders refusal to go away coupled with the second unit’s inability to move the ball, prompted Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson to insert his first unit back into action with about two minutes to play after sitting for half of the quarter.

The move proved to be a costly decision. On the first play back in the game, starting left guard Chuck Redman suffered an apparent knee injury and had to be carted off the field.

Skyler Taylor carried the ball 17 times for 96 yards for the Highlanders, and with his first quarter touchdown has now scored in each of the Highlanders first three games.

Fogel finished with 142 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Woullard had 59 yards receiving with two touchdowns.

Mission Viejo quarterback Joey Yellen threw for 206 yards and two scores.

Penalties were an issue for the Highlanders all night. They were hit with 12 flags, five of them for pass interference.

“They don’t need help,” Mazzotta said. “I mean bless, good teams don’t need to keep drives alive with that many penalties.”

Mission Viejo has another tough game ahead of them next week when they play Long Beach Poly. Both teams are ranked in the top-10 in the State.

The No. 9 Highlanders (1-2) will try to bounce back next Friday against Oak Grove (0-2) of San Jose at The Pit.

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Taylor’s record night, lifts Highlanders over Titans

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Taylor’s record night, lifts Highlanders over Titans

Posted on 02 September 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Skyler Taylor’s school record seven touchdowns spurred La Habra to upend Tesoro with a decisive 45-14 victory in Friday night’s home opener.

La Habra’s Skyler Taylor runs for one of his record setting touchdowns against Tesoro Friday night. Photo by Miguel Pola

It was an impressive showing following their lopsided loss to Upland last week.


“It’s ironic,” head coach Frank Mazzotta said of his message to the team this week. “You’re never as bad as you think you are, and you’re never as good as you think you are either.”

“I was proud of the kids, they did a pretty good job,” Mazzotta added. “Instead of getting down [and dwelling on last week], they came out and played.”

Taylor got the Highlanders on the board early and they never slowed down.

Playing in his first home game since joining the team, Taylor scored on each of the first two Highlander possessions, from six and 40 yards.

La Habr’s defense held the Titans to only 14 points Friday as LHHS won 45-14. Photo by Miguel Pola

Tesoro showed signs of life late in the first, when quarterback Chase Petersen hit John Cody for a 72-yard touchdown.

The Highlander defense set the tone early as well, forcing three turnovers in the first quarter (two interceptions and a fumble).

After a Clark Phillips interception staved off the Titans drive deep into Highlander territory, Taylor burst through the line and ran 91 yards untouched to make it 19-7 with 1:15 left in the first quarter.

The Highlanders offensive line paved the way for Taylor to go into halftime with six scores and a 39-7 lead.

“We are counting on them to be something special this year,” Mazzotta said about his offensive line. “Now they have to live up to it.”

Taylor would only play one more series in the third quarter, adding a 67-yarder to his total and finished with 300 yards.

La Habra Quarterback Zach Fogel makes a pass past Tesoro defenders in the Highlander 45-14 victory. Photo by Miguel Pola.

“It feels great playing behind them, I love my team man,” Taylor said. “It was all offensive line tonight, couldn’t do it without them.  

For the Titans, Petersen and Cody would hookup one more time midway through the fourth for another long touchdown. The duo accounted for the Titans only two scores on the night.

Quarterback Zach Fogel connected on a pair of long pass plays down inside the 5-yard-line, one to Deavyn Woullard and one to Kelani Washington that set up two more Taylor scores.

“I saw a little improvement, but tonight was all about our o-line and Skyler, with seven touchdowns, that’s unreal,” Fogel said.

Tesoro (0-2) dropped a heartbreaker last week to No. 1 Edison 47-48, but came into the night still ranked ahead of La Habra in Division 2.

Next week will be another serious test for the Highlanders (1-1), when they host the No. 10 team in California, Mission Viejo (2-0) Friday night. The Diablos are averaging 40 points-per-game so far and just beat a tough Vista Murrietta team 41-7.

Fogel said the key is just getting back to work, you don’t get too low after a loss or too high after a win.

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